13 & 31

Mother Nature draws Her line between childhood and adulthood. This line is clear and easy to see for those who are not blind to our natural world. Almost all people of our Western World suffer this blindness. This dividing line of Mother Nature is easy to understand. This line is puberty.

Lions and lionesses usually becomes adults around two years of age. Many male cubs do not survive to adulthood, older lions kill those cubs to reduce reproductive competition between males.

Horses are somewhat slower to mature, horses are bigger than lions and need time to fully grow. A "foal" is a fresh born horse. A young horse not over a year old or so is called a "yearling". After a year of growing, when horses begin to display natural gender behaviors, we call a girl horse a "filly" and a boy horse is a "colt". As an average, horses become adults around four years of age, we call a girl horse a "mare" and call a boy horse a "stallion".

Amongst the slowest of mammals to mature are humans. We have different labels for stages of life, infant, baby, toddler, child, young person and many other names. Within our natural world, Mother Nature intends for humans to become adults around thirteen, a time of puberty. This does not happen, mainstream kids do not become adults during puberty because American parents intentionally suppress and stunt intellectual growth and emotional maturation of their children. Western World kids do not become adults until early twenties, on the average. This is twice as long as Mother Nature intends.

We traditional American Indians do not inflict this harm upon our children. Quite the opposite, we help our children mature on Mother Nature's schedule. Most often, we Indian parents somewhat accelerate intellectual and emotional maturity of our kids.

Apache, specifically Mescalero Apache, are famed for their rite of passage to womanhood. Apache girls are honored by this celebration of puberty and becoming a full grown woman. Many Americans are aware of these rites enjoyed by many tribes, perhaps almost all tribes. This awareness and popularity is spread around by National Geographic, PBS, Scientific American and other media outlets.

You, the reader, are to watch this National Geographic video. Should you choose not to watch, you also choose to suppress and stunt your own intellectual growth.

Preparations for a rite of passage begin at birth. Throughout childhood a girl is taught those ways of being a good mother first, and being a good wife, second. Incidental to this teaching is being a viable and productive member of a tribe. We traditional Indians live for our families and live for our tribes. This is our purpose in life.

My upbringing is typical Choctaw with quite a bit of white culture mixed in. Grandma teaches me cooking, canning, sewing, washing clothes along with two critically important notions of life, healing and tending to babies. She and I also talk much about romance, love, sex and making babies. Grandma teaches me how to be a mother and how to be a wife.

Grandpa teaches me farming and slaughtering hogs. Choctaw are traditionally farmers with some hunting on the side but not much. We are essentially vegetarians. I work out in our crop fields, planting, tending, knocking down weeds and harvesting. I shuck corn, harvest snap beans and green peas. I slop our hogs and when time, I slit their throats.

I am always honored by grandpa picking me to slit a hog's throat. He says I am the best with a knife and most compassionate. We don't like killing a hog but we must or our family goes hungry. Hog over by our butchering tree, I sit on my hog's back, he doesn't mind, we are friends, I bring him buckets of hog slop. I reach down lift his head way up by chin then whisper soft loving words in his ear like always. This time is different. When my hog friend is soothed and comforted, I reach with my razor sharp knife to far side of his neck, then ear-to-ear deeply slit his throat. Keeping his head up high, he quickly bleeds out. Thirty seconds, a minute, he is down and dead without feeling any pain nor realizing he is dying.

This is not easy to do, this killing of a hog friend. Makes my heart hurt something awful. Nonetheless, I must do this to become a full grown woman when I reach puberty. I am to know how and be willingly to gather family food for my rite of passage.

Boys finished butchering our hog, I build a fire and grandma comes out to help me make hog fat soap for laundry, dishes and bar soap for bathing. I must learn this, I must become good at this if I am to be a mother and a wife at puberty.

Preparing for a rite of passage to womanhood is more than learning lessons of being a good mother and a good wife. Making babies is most important. New born are our future; no babies, no tribe.

A lioness, a mare and a human girl share common instinctive behaviors. Amongst those natural behaviors is selecting a mate through competition. A lioness and a mare pick a male who is most viable and protective and, virile. We girls select a mate in this way but our choices are more complex; we override instincts with our higher thinking.

Lions, stallions and human boys also share many traits. This is driving off other males to reduce competition for female mates. Quite amusing, males of all three species make displays of virility, those mating dances. Mother Nature gives those males another instinct, a powerful instinct, harem herding. A lion drives off male competitors and enjoys his pride of lionesses. A stallion chases off other stallions, collects mares and enjoys his harem, including willing human girls like our daughter and me; stallions are smarter than lions. Boys, we all know human boys would have their harems if they could get away with this. Higher thinking mainstream girls squash this human male behavior but not necessarily us Indian girls; we think in different ways than mainstream.

A Choctaw woman, an elder, comes around our farm couple times a week to teach me. We work together at my daily chores. Our family enjoys her company for breakfast and supper, sometimes she spends a night so we can talk and I can learn.

My elder, like grandma, provides lessons on being a good mother and wife. She also helps me to understand how to make babies. She instructs me in this fine art of sensuous seduction along with a variety of ways to enjoy sex acts. My elder also teaches me how to elicit a boy into generously donating his seed stock for pregnancy.

Most important part of preparing for a rite of passage to adulthood is maturity. This is challenging to learn. Maturity is not knowledge, maturity is a mind set. Growing up, becoming mature, is all encompassing. This is accepting holding yourself responsible and accountable for behaviors. Maturity is knowing when to be sincere and serious. This is also performing your chores as needed and as expected. Maturity is being productive and contributing to family and tribe well being.

This mind set is being truthful with self and all others. Maturity is an ability to see reality and think in realistic ways. This is not so much letting go of impulsive childhood as this is embracing pride of becoming an adult.

Over several years, with help of our grandparents, this cowboy I love and my Choctaw elders, over those years I mature quickly. I attain puberty, I begin menstruation, I enjoy my rite of passage to womanhood. I am thirteen years old going on thirty-one years old.

We traditional Indian girls live and breath for our rite of passage to womanhood. Becoming a full grown woman is the most significant event of our lifetimes. We are mature, we are ready to become mothers and wives. Mother Nature gives us girls our periods and our sexual awakening. This is time to leave a nest and fly off into life.

Indian girls are not left to fend for themselves upon becoming adult women. An elder mentor woman is assigned, we continue learning finer points of raising a family and living life. Modern times, Mescalero Apache girls, Choctaw girls, almost all Indian girls enjoy their rite of passage to womanhood then continue with high school, college, a career then families of our own. We are mature, we are realistic, our old ways are lost to the genocide, we must adapt and we do. We Indian girls are thirteen going on thirty-one.

Our girl's daddy and I raise our daughter as I am raised, traditional. She learns all those lessons of life I learn, being a good mother, being a wife, being sensuous and making babies for a tribal future. With tearful pride, she enjoys her rite of passage to womanhood, our girl is thirteen going on thirty-one.